As mental health advocacy grows, consumers are finding new ways to better their emotional well-being. Gone are the days where friends and family were your only forms of comfort. As more advocates encourage therapy and other mental health care options, however, many Millennials cannot afford the help they need.
According to Aishia Correll, a Millennial health care strategist in Philadelphia, some therapy sessions can cost anywhere from $75 to $200 without insurance for a single visit.
And the world’s younger generations reportedly need this health care more than anything. According to a 2018 survey by the American Psychological Association, Millennials and members of Generation Z are more likely to claim their mental health is poor. On top of that, Millennials have reported that they have the highest average stress levels of any of the generations.
Luckily, there are a growing number of mental health avenues that young people can use. As stereotypes regarding mental health begin to corrode, Gen Z and Millennials are among the most likely to take advantage of mental health services, including therapy.
The problem lies in their ability to afford it.
A large number of these mental health services do not take insurance. And even if they do, co-pay costs can make therapy an extraneous cost for the people who need it most.
The health care industry as a whole has become difficult for young people to navigate. In fact, Millennials especially are experiencing a difficult time affording basic health care costs, including trips to the dentist. Only 30% of Millennials report attending a yearly dental check-up, in part, because of the cost.
Worse yet? Should Millennials actually make those necessary appointments, more and more are having trouble paying off the debts incurred. It’s estimated by the Medical Group Management Association that 60% of costs owed by patients is never collected.
Brenda Shelton-Dunston is the executive director for the Black Women’s Health Alliance in Philadelphia. She claims that Millennials and women of color may be at particularly high risk.
“There is a void in mental-health availability and access to mental-health prevention and support services for women of color in Philadelphia,” she notes, adding that many feel like they don’t have support.
For now, only one-third of Millennials and members of Gen Z have received treatment or therapy from a mental health professional or location. So, how do we attempt to rectify the inaccessibility to mental health resources?
Correl hopes to provide a sustainable answer for Millennials, women of color, and the LGBTQ+ community. She notes that increasing accessibility and providing more focused services might be the answer.
She is working on opening a healing art gallery in North Philly where patients can visit art shows, attend poetry readings, and watch music performances. This art gallery is also a discreet location where clients can seek out professional therapists and other mental health professionals. They even offer holistic healing options like yoga, meditation, and art therapy at an affordable price.
Unfortunately, this idea needs funding, either through the government or other community efforts. As such, Correll hopes to open this gallery by next spring to aid her community.
Though this idea might not work in every town, it’s innovative thinking like this which might bridge the gap between mental health care access and the people who need it most.